Steve Bruce has been made the “fall guy” at Newcastle and shown a lack of respect, according to his son Alex.
Bruce will take charge of his 1,000th game as a manager when the Magpies host Tottenham on Sunday, but is widely expected to be replaced following the takeover of the club.
Bruce took charge of his boyhood club in 2019, but was given little opportunity to refresh the squad under former owner Mike Ashley, while also taking much of the blame for a lack of progress on the pitch.
“It’s been tough,” Alex Bruce told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily Podcast.
“I wouldn’t sit here and lie and say it hasn’t, it’s been really tough to watch the criticism.
“Since he took the job, I think the lack of respect that has been shown, considering he’s done 1,000 games, has been unbelievable.”
A Saudi Arabian-backed group completed their takeover of the club on October 7, sparking immediate speculation Bruce – who has guided Newcastle to 13th and 12th-placed finishes – would be replaced after a winless start to the campaign.
𝘈 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘦𝘳𝘢 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘴…
⚫️ 𝗛𝗢𝗪𝗔𝗬 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗟𝗔𝗗𝗦! ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/k9k5JYbLVg
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 17, 2021
Links with Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, ex-Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre continue, but Bruce remains in post for now.
Despite being a boyhood fan himself, Bruce has never been a popular appointment among the St James’ Park faithful, with Alex Bruce saying his father had always faced an uphill battle.
“He knew that was going to be the case from the day he took the job,” he said.
“He had an owner who was trying to sell the club, he had an owner who didn’t really want to put any money of his own into the club for a number of reasons, he could only use the money that the club generated and with the pandemic there wasn’t any money there.
“He tried to strengthen the squad in the last window. They desperately needed reinforcements in defensive areas, I think he was very frustrated he couldn’t do that, so there’s been a number of things that have made the job difficult.
“He has been the fall guy. The amount of times I’ve said to him, ‘Why don’t you let someone else do the press?’ And he just says, ‘Because I’m the manager, it’s my responsibility’.”
Alex Bruce argued that his father’s record compared fairly well alongside Rafa Benitez’s achievement of 10th and 13th-placed finishes, questioning why the two men are regarded differently.
“Dad’s finished round about similar and yet one’s been lauded as a messiah and the other one’s been battered since the moment he walked in the door, which has been the most difficult thing for me to watch because he’s a Geordie,” he said.
Ahead of the clash with Tottenham, Steve Bruce told Sky Sports: “Bruce hopes his players can capitalise on the atmosphere following Newcastle’s takeover.
He told Sky Sports: “I’m just delighted for everybody that the takeover has gone through. It badly needed it and that is no disrespect to the previous owners at all.
“I would like to think I’ve played a little part in it, it sounds ridiculous, by keeping the club in the Premier League and that has enabled it to go through. Let’s hope now that there are exciting times ahead. This is what the club has needed and wanted so let’s try and enjoy it.
“The players have trained well, there is a different vibe even when you go outside of the stadium now. I think we will have an unbelievable atmosphere and we have to handle it.
“That win is the most important thing we need, we have had a difficult start and haven’t won a game yet. Let’s hope it is the start and we can get on the board and get that win on the board.
“In amongst it all we have to be professional and get on with our jobs. There is an air of excitement which is different to what it was before.”